Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money, Chris Muir takes a stab at intellectual history:
and the next day:
Apparently, 'later' in this last one used to read 'Locke', but someone clued Muir in to the fact that Locke was, in fact, Christian, and based his theory of property on our duties to God. But that, of course, isn't the real howler, nor is the bizarre idea that this country was in any serious way "based on" Kant, let alone Schopenhauer, who was just one year old when the Constitution was adopted. What actually makes my head explode is this:
The usual complaint about Kant is that he was too inflexible. (He thought, for instance, that if a murderer comes to the door and asks where to find the person he wants to kill, it's wrong to lie.) To call him a nihilist, or a relativist, or someone who doesn't believe in objective truth, is like -- well, one of LG&M's analogies is "command economy Hayekianism". Since truth is one but error is infinite, there's no shortage of further subjects for Chris Muir's strips: Leninist anarchism, Kierkegaardian rationalism, Thomist atheism, Nazi Judaism, cautious and sober Maoism, Britney Spearsian profundity, Caligulan propriety and decency, Robespierrian restraint, Mozartian lugubriousness, and of course Muirian thoughtful, well-informed commentary.
Commenters at LG&M googled the phrase 'Kantian nihilism, and found that most of the pages using it had gotten it from Ayn Rand. See, for instance, here:
"Among noted thinkers of the day, Ayn Rand alone stood firm against the tide of Kantian nihilism and in support of reason, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism - the philosophic ideals that are the foundation of American achievement and progress. Three decades later, despite a seemingly different sociopolitical climate, the intellectual essence of the "New Left" endures. Its continued influence - manifested in such ideologies as environmentalism and multiculturalism - renders Rand's observations and warnings as relevant, and as urgently needed, as when they were first written."
"Another case in point was the behavior of the crowds at Woodstock (I will admit that I liked the music and the movie) which, she said, served as a definitive paradigm of Kantian Nihilism; prevalent were wild sex orgies among strangers, drug overdoses, continual wallowings in mud and feces, riotous behavior resulting in varying levels of destruction to others' property (thus property rights), and the need for food and water by those who ended up starving and dehydrated because they did not plan ahead and consider potential troubles that could and would lie ahead, all of which, figuratively speaking, amassed one big festival of animals ready to be sacrificed to the gods of Nihilism."
Because we all know how firmly Kant supported wild sex orgies, continual wallowings in mud and feces, and not needing food and water.
Note to Chris Muir: it's fine not to know anything about Kant. Most of humanity doesn't know anything about him, and that's OK. But if you don't know anything about him, why pretend that you do? Note to world: Ayn Rand is not a reliable guide to
anything the history of philosophy. Note to self: time to go pick up those pieces of my head.